Jungle Joust is a hidden-allegiance/card laying/betting/nail biting game for 2-6 players ages 12+. In the game players take turns placing cards that can move one of two rhinos down the jousting field, place bets on which will win the joust, and bet on which will have the better strengths at the end of the match. To play the game each player is given an allegiance token which secretly lets them know which of the two rhinos they should want to win, each turn they must play at least card (if possible) on either side of the board by matching at least one of the symbols and colors of the previously played card. The cards are used to move the rhinos and determine which bonuses they will achieve in one of 5 different areas (accuracy, strength, defense, movement, and valor). If they match 3 symbols of the same color in a row they place a Favor token on that symbol earning points for the rhino matching that color.
After playing their cards players have the option to place bets on which rhino they think will win by playing more cards beside their allegiance token and by taking one of the available betting chits to bet on which rhino will have the largest of each of the 5 strengths. When they are done placing bets players may choose to draw one of the two face up cards or two cards from the deck.
Play continues like this until the riders meet on the field in a glorious clash of wood, metal, and rhino at which point it ceases and player move into the scoring phase. Scoring is based off your allegiance and betting. All players earn money (points) based on the amount of favor they earned and if they made it past the middle line before the Clash. Players also earn money based on the bets they placed during the game with winning bets earning their value in money and losing bets taking 1 point away. When players have finished scoring the reset the game and begin again with a new round. After 3 rounds the joust is over and the winner is the one who has won the most money from the day of betting.
This game provides multiple options by betting with chips, cards, or throwing everything at your favored rhino in hopes to push it far past your opponents’. The hidden allegiance tokens keep players from working together as much as you don’t know where the loyalties of those next to you lie which can lead to unintended sabotage of your own rhino or others. In the end this was a game we thoroughly enjoyed over multiple plays and one that will find its way to the table frequently.
I liked that the teams were kept secret until the end of the game and that if your Rhino won that earned you money. I also liked the betting chips and betting with cards because that gave you more options to get money in the game and win even if your rhino didn’t win the race. I especially loved the game setup and the rhino cut outs that jousted in the game, they were really fun to look at.
I liked that the rhinos are the same color as the knight and the betting chips, it was really cool to look at them on the jousting field. I liked being able to bet on either side even if it wasn’t the one you were aligned to because that gave you more options in the game and more strategy. I also liked being able to use the cards either to move the rhinos or to bet on who you thought would win and that getting your rhino past the center line got your side more points.
**A copy of this game was provided in exchange for our review**